The best of Alastair Cook

England's all-time leading run scorer Alastair Cook announced he will retire after the fifth Test against India. As his 12-year England career nears its end, we look at some of the best knocks of his career.

Alastair Cook wasn't even supposed to be part of the England team which toured India in 2006. He was in West Indies with the England A side, in a time zone that is a good 9.5 hours behind India. Marcus Trescothick's ill-health changed all that for a 21-year-old Cook. Playing the first Test in Nagpur, Alastair Cook announced his arrival with a well-composed 60 in the first innings. That day, he gave the world a glimpse of his insatiable hunger for runs as he topped his first-innings feat with a remarkable century in the second innings. Cook has gone on to break multiple records in his career as a batsman and a captain. Photo: S. Subramanium
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He may not have ended up on the winning side against Australia, but a century against the likes of Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Warne on a bouncy, bowler-friendly Perth pitch in his debut year makes the 116 runs he scored in the second innings rank high up as one of his best. Set an improbable 557 runs to win the third Test, England lost Andrew Strauss for a duck but Cook persevered and scored his first Ashes hundred off 257 balls. It was his fourth century in just his 12th Test! Photo: AFP
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This was another second-innings special from Alastair Cook. Staring at a first-innings deficit of 221 in the first Test, Cook did what he does best - playing a long innings of substance when his team's in the doldrums. Staying put on the pitch for 625 minutes, he carried England to safety with support from captain Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott. It set the stage for England's series win, made all the more special due to England's humiliating 5-0 defeat in the previous Ashes. Photo: AFP
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Alastair Cook registered his 19th Test century with a personal best of 294, falling shy of the triple century mark by six runs, a small regret in his otherwise glorious career. England scored 710 and Cook crossed many a milestones during his marathon innings – he entered the top 10 of all-time scores for England, and moved past his previous best of 235. It was the second-highest score by an England batsman against India then and it was the first time since 1990 that an England batsman had crossed the 250-run mark. Photo: AFP
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During this magnificent knock of 294 against India, he had come close to beating Len Hutton's 1938 record for the longest Test innings by an England batsman. He scored 31 runs lesser at Abu Dhabi in 2015, but managed to break that record under sweltering conditions against Pakistan. His 836-minute innings surpassed the Sir Len Hutton's 797 minutes spent at the crease against Australia in 1938. Photo: AFP
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Is there a better way to end a career? Some would say a double hundred, but Alastair Cook epitomized his career in his final innings, scoring a measured and calculated 147 off 286 balls. The hundred made him only the sixth player to score centuries in the first and last innings. Interestingly, both came against India for Cook. He had entered an elite club of Test batsmen a long time ago, but getting to retire on a high is not something that's written in everyone's books. Photo: Getty Images
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